Alcohol may not seem to the average person to be an addictive, mood-altering drug, but there’s no debate that is what it is. Just like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines do, drinking alcohol causes the brain to release unnaturally large amounts of the pleasure-causing chemical dopamine. This dopamine release is the mechanism around which all drug addiction is based, as the brain ceases natural dopamine production in reaction to the drug’s effect. When that happens, the brain begins to need to the drug in order to feel pleasure at all. Alcoholics aren’t drinking because they are choosing to—they’re drinking because doing otherwise makes them miserable.
Alcohol is so widespread that it’s easy to develop alcoholism without seeing it coming. Millions of Americans socialize with alcohol, drinking at parties, dinners, and at bars. Some college and high school cultures value binge drinking as a sign of popularity or coolness. In these situations, it’s easy for someone to drink alcohol in order to be accepted by their peers. And for many people, drinking alcohol responsibly is very much possible. For others, it’s not. Some people are genetically predisposed to alcohol addiction and will develop alcoholism even if they only drink as much as someone who never develops a problem.
Alcoholism is a disease, and when someone develops it, their health will inevitably degenerate as long as the disease persists. Alcohol is a harmful substance, damaging the brain and liver, and excessive use will make it necessary for an alcoholic to drink more and more alcohol to feel its effects. If left alone, alcoholism will eventually compel its victims to drink alcohol to lethal excess.
You can’t let yourself or a loved one with alcoholism go without treatment. The longer they stay under the grip of alcohol addiction, the harder it will be to recover, and the more dangerous their detoxification process will be. Some people think that an alcoholic has to hit rock bottom before they decide to get treatment. Not only is this untrue, but harmful to the addicts. For many, “rock bottom” is, quite simply, death. An alcoholic’s friends and family should understand how important their role is in supporting their addicted loved one through recovery.
The Ridge’s substance abuse treatment center offers an extremely effective program for getting alcoholics sober and into recovery. We have a strong recovery rate, and our consistently high level of care has earned us accreditation from the Joint Commission, an honor bestowed only to the best rehabilitation facilities in the country. Don’t let alcoholism destroy your life or a friend’s. Get treatment today and get healthy.